- Date published:
9:30 am, March 24th, 2015 - 34 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, john key, national, same old national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: carmel sepuloni, mike sabin, official information act, oia
A couple of recent events provide an interesting contrast and show how the handling of disclosures under the need to know policy by this government varies.
The most recent is that involving Carmel Sepuloni. She learned the day before that her mother was to appear in Court facing charges of welfare fraud. The discovery was obviously a bombshell to her. After a discussion with Andrew Little she agreed to stand down as Labour’s Social Welfare spokesperson until the case was finalised. This was a principled and entirely appropriate decision.
I asked under the Official Information Act if the Minister of Social Development was told under the no surprises policy about Mrs Sepuloni’s issues. And I was told recently that she was.
It is interesting to compare this incident with the Mike Sabin incident. There has been intense interest in what no surprises disclosure of Sabin’s issues were made by the police and when. Fair enough that a Minister is told about action taken against a MP’s family. I understand that this is normal procedure. Even Rodney Hide has confirmed that this is a standard expectation. So surely the Police told the Minister about Sabin’s difficulties.
The police have pretty well confirmed that Michael Woodhouse was told and he has not denied it. Issues like a police investigation of a government MP you would think would be considered significant especially when an investigation of an opposition MP’s mother was considered significant.
So why can’t we be told when the Government was told about Sabin?
I can’t help but wonder who told the media about Mrs Sepuloni’s predicament. Was this a sting by the Government hoping to divert attention away from some pretty bad scandals that National was enduring at the time? And the failure to give Carmel Sepuloni a heads up should be contrasted with the very principled behaviour of Andrew Little in warning John Key that something was remiss with one of his Members of Parliament.